The Dawn of the ‘Unreasonable’ Digital Transformers

Debkanya Dhar

Working From Home_Virtual Onboarding

Sounds pretty awesome. It could be the title of a futuristic summer blockbuster. In fact, the setting is perfect. There is a crown shaped virus on the loose, a pandemic has been declared, streets are empty and people are hiding in their houses. And through those empty streets stroll the heroes — the Digital Transformers. What do they do? Everything in their power to make sure that those hunkered down people can still get up every morning and login at 10am sharp for their first video call of the day.

Anti-climax much? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to remind myself that we are all putting ourselves up against some crazy odds to pretend like it is life as usual. This ‘new normal’ is straight out of a dystopian novel, or actually, a horror movie. How do we continue to go to work and be productive, in spite of everything? What needs to change to make this all seem bearable? Isn’t it unreasonable to expect my company to care about my personal life on top of everything else?

These are questions we are constantly asking ourselves. At the surface, we are the Digital Transformers who automate and digitise people processes so new employees can go from zero to productive right from Day 1. In the process, we save companies considerable amounts of time and money and ensure they get more bang for every buck. We collect data, build tools and streamline information that HR managers can access, use and deploy on auto-pilot to make the entire employee journey pleasurable and bump-free. We also customise and personalise the whole system to make the employee feel like a valued customer and not just a worker.

But this is not why we exist.

Rewind to paragraph 2 of this meandering blog. We exist because we ask the same questions you do. We see ourselves as employees on a mission to make life better for others like us. It’s about walking in the same shoes and living the lives that we do, as mothers and fathers, as hikers and nature lovers, as pet parents and YouTube chefs, as classical dancers and weekend musicians. Real people who wish for flex hours and fulfilling work, for colleagues who are also friends and managers who are kind. These are things that allow us to be all those other things that make us whole, which in turn helps us do our best work ever.

I was recently reminded of a G B Shaw quote —

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

As this pandemic marches all over our lives, we think it’s absolutely okay to be unreasonable, to refuse to ‘adjust’, to refuse to shut our children up on Zoom calls or pretend like lunch will make itself. For many of us it is no longer feasible to compartmentalise our personal and professional lives. Those boundaries have been washed away with all the extra hand-washing we’ve been doing.

So whatever solutions we create now will need to transcend those boundaries that separate the two worlds. Paperwork and pen-pushing, tedious, repetitive and mindless work, work that doesn’t tie in with the organisation’s culture, vision and mission — all of those things have to be replaced with something more meaningful and worth our time. And the time to do it is immediately, using technology, empathy, creativity and a perfectly reasonable amount of unreasonableness that will push each of us to adapt the new world to us.

So that’s why we exist — the Unreasonable Digital Transformers who are going to keep asking those tough questions and looking for answers. And by doing so we are going to create solutions that actually work for us, not just find ways in which we can keep working from our bunkers.